tv CNN Special Report CNN April 11, 2015 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT
-- captions by vitac -- www.vitac. www.vitac.com >> the following is a cnn special report. ♪ in his documentary "weed" -- >> you've looked at the evidence. >> there's real science out there. >> a year-long journey that changed what many of us thought about marijuana, myself included. >> i think we've been terribly and systematically misled. >> we used to only picture this. then we showed you this. medical marijuana treating seizures, pain, dozens of other ailments. >> charlotte is doing amazing, better and better each month. >> but we learned this wasn't the end of the story, it was just the beginning. >> i think we went from about 150 calls a month to over 4,000. >> there's still so many issues
to be addressed. the federal government says marijuana is among the most addictive drugs with no medicinal value. many serious scientists say they're wrong. >> it's a medicine. >> it's the politics of pot. pitting policy against patients. trapped in the middle, sick, qualified people who want medical marijuana but can't get it because it's illegal. >> if you tried to go back to ohio with drugs and medication? >> we'll be arrested. >> all for a plant that you're going to see can work wonders. for pain in a grown man. ms in a woman at the peak of her life. and seizures in a little girl. we traveled the globe asking scientists, patients and policymakers for a solution. i'm dr. sanjay gupta. and this is "weed two: cannabis madness." this time our journey begins in new jersey, ironically called the garden state. it's the summer of 2013.
a quiet neighborhood diner about to become the site of a headline-making confrontation. between a frantic father, brian wilson, and the outspoken governor, chris christie, all over wilson's 2-year-old daughter, vivian. >> what's the holdup? it's been two months now. >> sir, these are complicated issues. >> it's very simple. >> i know you think it's simple. >> it was a david and goliath moment. you've got a governor who is one of the leading republicans in the nation, and this dad who has got a little girl who he's desperately worried and in love with who just wants to do the best thing for her. >> you see, brian wilson's daughter, vivian, was dying. her brain continuously locked in seizures and nothing had worked. the wilsons were pinning their hopes on medical marijuana.
they read about marijuana on the internet and saw stories about it saving lives. like little charlotte, whose story was told in our first documentary "weed." >> i remember i was at the gym on the treadmill and i saw a preview. i was watching the tv. i was just so excited because i knew everything was going to change at that moment. >> they hoped marijuana would rescue vivian from the virtual prison she lives in. where bright lights, loud sounds and patterns can all induce a seizure. that's why she wears that patch on her eye. >> if she could be blindfolded, she could be seizure-free. >> it's everything, all these little stimuli. she can't leave the house. >> vivian, do you know this book? >> vivian and i first played together in her darkened, quiet, very controlled bedroom. it quickly became clear how tremendous a toll this the isolation takes on vivian. but also the entire family.
no one here has a normal life, including vivian's older sister, 4-year-old adele. >> every day on the way home from school, she's like, can we stop at the park? and i'm like, we can't stop at the park because vivian's nurse leaves at 5:00 and we have to be home. >> what would adele say about that? >> she'll say we can't -- when we pass the park, she says those kids are at the park but we can't go to the park because vivian has seizures, and it kills you. >> they're so severely affected. >> new york university dr. davinski is vivian's doctor. he's also one of the world's leading epilepsy experts. >> i think for the families who have given western medicine a really good chance and there are a lot of them, and western medicine has failed their children. >> but the wilsons now found themselves in the political crossfire of pot. marijuana was legalized for medicinal use here in new jersey right before chris christie took
office in january of 2010. it was done by his democratic predecessor. but once in office, christie blocked the legislation for more than a year. he eventually signed one of the strictest, most limiting medical marijuana bills to date. just six approved stores in the entire state, and perhaps most damaging for vivian, no edible forms of marijuana allowed. which was crucial. the only option then for this 2-year-old would be to inhale it. >> talk to brian wilson. >> protests erupted across the state. and that's why brian wilson took things into his own hands that day in august. >> have you heard from the doctors -- >> i have read everything -- >> it became known as the dust-up in the diner. >> i mean, it was all over cnn. it was national news. it was like, libya, vivian wilson's father. it was crazy. >> so you're going to let my daughter die? >> hi, how are you? >> nice to meet you.
>> it's a battle these families understand better than anyone. >> there's no hope left. there was nothing else left to do. >> each of these families wanted medical marijuana for their sick children. they also fought to get it in their home states. but lost. so they moved to colorado where it's legal. desperate and determined, they've become known as medical marijuana refugees. >> i came from arizona. >> we left a lot back in alabama. >> unfortunately he had to break the news to his folks we're not coming back to texas. >> more than 100 families moving to get the marijuana they had seen in our last documentary. it's called charlotte's web, named for the little girl we profiled. it's a plant that doesn't get you high but loaded with a chemical called cannabidiol, or cbd. which seems to help reduce seizure, even when nothing else has worked. it changed charlotte's life. >> because the drier it is, it will extract more.
>> thousands of parents called to ask the growers, josh stanley, and his brothers, if it could possibly work for their children. >> you tell them potentially it could, nothing is for sure. i said, well, unfortunately you have to move to colorado. >> the reason they have to move to colorado is what? >> because anything that's grown in colorado has to stay in colorado. >> it's the most absurd idea that we would have to do this to get medicine. >> but it's the law. marijuana is illegal federally. even if you're prescribed it legally in a medical marijuana state, even if it works, even if it is your last hope, you're out of luck. you can't carry it across state lines. so for the wilsons, completely uprooting their lives and moving seemed to be the only option to help vivian. >> it's the hardest thing in the world to have to do. we have all our family here, we have our jobs, so much we had to do. >> but just weeks after the dust-up in the diner, just around the time the wilsons
allowed us to start filming their story exclusively, we received word that governor christie had eased his stance. eventually the state of new jersey did allow the edible form of marijuana after all. but the wilsons still had another roadblock. they couldn't get their doctors to prescribe it. >> there's a certain level of just fear that you could do more harm than good and until we go through the standard process, you should be conservative. >> and by standard process, he means scientific research. and as you're about to learn, that is nearly impossible to conduct here in the united states. >> it's time to reform the system. >> we love you so much. how fun on the airplane. >> leaving people like the wilsons in a painful and potentially deadly limbo. the exclusive journey to save their daughter when we come back.
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the beautiful sound of customers making the most of their united flight. power, wi-fi and streaming entertainment. that's... seize the journey friendly. it's high noon at the dispensary in colorado springs. business is booming at one of the state's largest medical marijuana dispensaries. customers run the gamut of ages and ailments. >> busy day. always a busy day, yes, sir. >> each strain, a different high. each bud, a different benefit. each leaf treating a different ailment.
>> everything from mental floss to ak-47 to green crack. >> did you name any of these? >> no, no. >> the names are quirky. but the owner says this is serious medicine. >> how hard is this to do? >> good luck. it's tough. it requires persistence, patience and luck. >> this is josh stanley and his five brothers. they're a handsome, well-educated, tight-knit group, all working together to make millions in colorado's cannabis madness. how have things changed here? >> you're looking at a new crop. this is a never-ending cycle. >> the stanleys sell many different kinds of medical marijuana. high thc strains tend to be the money makers, but they're now famous for growing a less profitable plant called charlotte's web. it's low in thc, but high in cbd, cannabidiol. remember that name.
it's the key therapeutic chemical doctors are using to treat everything. from chronic pain to lupus, to crohn's disease and epilepsy. so 80% of this farm is now a high cbd, low thc. i mean, this is the exact opposite of what people think of when they think of marijuana. >> this won't get you high. >> you can set the whole hippie population of colorado loose on this plant and you're just going to be looking at a bunch of disappointing hippies. >> the stanleys are not concerned about disappointing hippies. they've seen this plant change lives. they have a brand new lab, manned with scientists who are turning their plants into medicines. brother joel stanley is in charge of that part of the business. >> it wasn't a world that i knew, so we kind of had to dive into this and learn how to make plant extracts. >> joel was reluctant at first to get involved. he avoided marijuana most of his life. but the spring of 2009, he was working in texas on the oil
fields when his oldest brother, josh, asked him to join the new family business. >> and i laughed because i thought it was just a foot in the door to legalization. i didn't think it was medicinal. the first three patients i met were cancer patients who looked me in the eye and told me if they didn't have the anti-nausea effects and the appetite stimulant and the help sleeping that they wouldn't have survived chemotherapy, and i believed them. >> that was sort of your time of conversion? >> that was my turning point. >> and now on this mountainside, they expect to grow more than 1,000 pounds of medical marijuana in 2014. some is sold to smoke. some is sold as an oil to ingest. >> so what we're talking about is literally taking this and turning it into this? >> that's right. >> the scientists here, some of whom worked at major pharmaceutical companies, are focused on both making the
medications and maintaining strict quality control. >> we can test for pesticides, we can test for molds, mildews, we can test for residual solvents. >> testing for contamination. one of the biggest hurdles to creating a safe product. in fact, studies on the contamination of medical marijuana are pretty alarming. one los angeles case founds dangerously high levels of insecticide in samples. it's one of the things that concerns doctors about medical marijuana. safety and reliability. -- saved, as well as uniformity and reliability. >> the major issue that physicians have is in the consistency of the product. how do you know what the person is getting? and the answer is, we don't. >> neurologist dr. edward mau is the chief of denver's epilepsy program.
he's one of several mainstream doctors now researching the stanley's marijuana after hearing about its dramatic results. >> my ears perked up. maybe this is something we should be investigating. >> for years, he steered clear of cannabis because the government classified it as illegal. yet ironically, when he survived his own patients, 33% of them were already using medical marijuana. >> i was just shocked how many people were using it. >> what did you expect before you got those numbers back? >> i was guessing maybe 5, 10%. >> that is part of the problem. medical marijuana patients have self-medicated for years, anxious to get relief but with very little guidance on how to do so. that's something that concerns the wilsons. >> i don't know if they know how to grow these types of strains. >> these are just people who had political connections who got a dispensary. >> by early october 2013, there was only one dispensary open in the entire state. they don't sell a high cbd strain. the wilsons believe it could be at least a year before they will.
that's a year vivian might not have. >> every seizure does damage to her brain, to her body, everything. how much longer do we wait? >> they've got to do something. now ready to move, they want to still try it. so they're going to leave their familiar neighborhood behind to see firsthand if the marijuana they've heard so much about could help vivian. >> do you think this is going to work? >> for me it has to work. because if it doesn't, i don't know where that leaves us. >> just days later, vivian wilson gets ready for the trip of a lifetime, a trip filled with danger since all the stimulation of a plane ride could induce seizures high up in the sky. vivian's future and life is on the line.
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♪ i love you so much. have fun on the airplane. >> it was a trip that began with a tearful, anxious departure. and fear for vivian's fragile health. she suffers from life-threatening seizures. so much worry, yet thankfully this part of their journey was surprisingly smooth. with their grandmother and father by her side, vivian was seizure free. the long plane ride from new jersey to colorado ends with a warm welcome. >> hi, precious. >> vivian is finally going to try medical marijuana, cannabis, and the stanley brothers have been working hard to get it
ready. but just an hour after her arrival -- >> brian, brian, she's going with her face. >> she's seizing. bring her over here. >> vivian starts having seizures, one after the other. brian rushes to get her anti-seizure medication. it's hard on vivian and on brian, and some of his doubts start to rush back in. >> it's always stressful wherever we go. i have all faith that this is going to work, but with anything you try, there's that nagging suspicion we're going to be the ones it doesn't work for. >> despite the rough night, the next morning begins with hope that relief is in sight. to meet the strict state standards, brian establishes residency in colorado by renting a small apartment. vivian meets with two doctors for a thorough physical.
>> how many seizures per day? >> both doctors approve her need for cannabis and write recommendations for medical marijuana to treat her epilepsy. >> it went good? >> yeah. >> by sunset, they're ready. little vivian has no idea of what's about to happen. >> that's it, right there, a tiny amount of oil squirted into her mouth. >> good job, sweetheart. >> now they just watch and wait. over the next 24 hours, vivian's seizures slowly decrease. >> look what i got. >> how is she doing? >> she's doing really good. >> to celebrate, a family picnic, outside filled with activity. balloons with patterns, decorations, and lots of sunlight.
any of these things could have previously induced a seizure. it's an emotional moment for a dad, watching his daughter finally have freedom. >> she used to be able to do this outside, but not -- this is -- yeah. >> come here. >> brian believes the marijuana is working. but as you're about to see, vivian is by no means cured. after an hour in the direct sun, vivian has a seizure. brian rushes to inject the drugs that will stop the seizures and places an oxygen mask on in case those same drugs stop vivian from breathing. >> we pushed it. >> now with the epilepsy rescue drugs still in her system, you
can see for yourself just how powerful they are. >> she's absolutely doped up right now. watch her trying to walk or do anything. >> this is difficult to watch, but it does raise this important point. the traditional drugs used to treat epilepsy can be more dangerous than cannabis. vivian's doctor, epilepsy expert warren davinski. >> i think one of the reasons marijuana is probably safe is it's related to the cannabidiol receptors. if you have too much stimulation or inhibition of them, they don't shut off breathing or respiration. >> and that's key. the current potent epilepsy drugs impact many parts of the brain, including the brain stem. they can essentially shut off the body's vital functions if you take too much. marijuana does not do that. and that's why it's virtually unheard of to have a marijuana overdose. it's one of the reasons so many doctors are starting to change their minds on cannabis.
but we are talking about children, young children. and that's going to understandably raise concerns. the latest research shows some strains of marijuana do have a profound effect on the brains of users under the age of 25. >> thc in some good studies has been linked to psychiatric disorders, memory disorders in children under 16. even though it's low thc content, there may be long-term side effects. >> what are you worried about the most in the long run? >> the fact that we don't understand the long-term effects of this medication in brain development. >> these are tough choices, made even tougher when you uproot your whole life for marijuana. >> i had to do a lot of fund-raising and get a lot of friends' help to get us here. >> so we left daddy's at home in cleveland. >> they come from all walks of life. a stay-at-home mom from ohio. an insurance salesman from
alabama. a nurse practitioner from florida. >> it's exciting to think about the opportunity for her, i mean, to hold her head up, look at us and say mom, dad. >> but now, they're trapped. >> you can't take the medicine back to florida, can you? >> no. they would take my child away. that's my fear. >> they would take your child away for giving him his medicine? >> yeah. >> this is the problem between the federal and state level. this conflict is really driving families apart. >> that's just crazy. >> it's crazy. it's absolutely crazy. i try not to think of it at this point and just try to get some quick results in vivian so we know this is the path to continue on. >> over the next couple of days, they see some startling results. vivian goes from 75 seizures a day to just 10. the wilsons are now more convinced than ever they have to keep vivian on marijuana. but how? financially, they aren't ready
to move here full-time. and yet new jersey doesn't have the resources to grow what they need. so as they head home, they don't know what the future holds. >> we're just going to have to hope for the best in the meantime. >> their hope could lie with a brand new pharmaceutical, from these top secret fields overseas. an exclusive look inside when we come back. yohouse. play dates r be ready to clean up the mess. the kids have fun, but it's pretty gross. (doorbell) what's that? it's a swiffer wetjet. i can just grab this and just go right to the mess. that comes from my floor? now that's disgusting. i want friends over! you want friends over? feel like a raging storm. i've tried laxatives,
but my symptoms keep returning. my constipation feels like a heavy weight that keeps coming back. vo: linzess can help. once-daily linzess treats adults with ibs with constipation or chronic constipation. linzess is thought to help calm pain-sensing nerves and accelerate bowel movements. linzess helps you proactively manage your symptoms. do not give linzess to children under 6, and it should not be given to children 6 to 17. it may harm them. don't take linzess if you have a bowel blockage. get immediate help if you develop unusual or severe stomach pain, especially with bloody or black stools. the most common side effect is diarrhea, sometimes severe. if it's severe, stop taking linzess and call your doctor right away. other side effects include, gas, stomach-area pain and swelling. bottom line, ask your doctor about linzess today. why do we do it? why do we spend every waking moment, thinking about people? why are we so committed to keeping you connected?
english countryside a couple hours outside of london. we're on our way to visit gw pharmaceuticals, a company that makes medicines from the actual marijuana plant. now, although this is done with the express permission of the uk government, we did have to sign confidentiality agreements and cannot disclose exactly where we're going to be located. you see, marijuana is illegal in just about every part of this country, except for the secret labs we're about to enter. >> wow! this is pretty spectacular. are you used to the smell? >> i'm not particularly partial to the smell. >> if you had smellevision on your tv, you would be overpowered by now. it's a lot of pot. this greenhouse is the size of a football field, and they have several more just like it throughout the united kingdom. the lighting, temperature, humidity, all monitored by a top secret central computer that
keeps those conditions constant. and there are dozens of scientists regularly tending the plants. this is probably the most tlc for a weed i've ever heard of. >> one would hope so. absolutely. >> dr. jeffrey guy, who runs gw pharmaceuticals, says it has to be this way, because they're trying to do something no other pharmaceutical company in the world is attempting -- turning the actual marijuana plant into a prescription drug. >> when you look out at all of this, what comes to your mind? >> i look at this, and i think we can make generations of medicines over the next 25, 30 years. >> medicines for illnesses like alzheimer's, diabetes and epilepsy, autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and crohn's. the key to making these medications is inside these simple looking leaves, and understanding the hundreds of chemicals. some more therapeutic than others.
those are the cannabinoids. >> in our clinical research, we're able to say what each individual cannabinoid does. each one represents a potential new medicine for us. we can then breed into the plant the materials that will provide us with a range of beneficial effects. >> designer cannabis plants are then reduced to a whole plant extract, and that's crucial according to the grand daddy of all marijuana research, israel's dr. raphael mashula. >> when they've tried to make drugs using certain compounds from marijuana, it's met with limited success. why is it when you take certain compounds out of the marijuana and try to make a drug, it doesn't seem to work as well? >> well, one of the reasons possibly is because the thc works better when cannabidiol is there. so if you have both, it works better. >> he calls it the entourage effect, and that's what gw is doing. every extract will have all the plant's chemicals in it. the extract is then packaged as
an approved prescription spray. in order to increase the chances of getting that approval, every step from growing to harvesting to manufacturing is all carefully controlled, regulated and rigorously tested to strict standards, so every plant, every extract, every dose is identical, safe, and effective. it is an expensive and painstakingly slow process. it's taken hundreds of millions of dollars and a decade to develop their first drug for the pain and spasms brought on by multiple sclerosis. as a neurosurgeon myself, i was curious how well this medicine could work. theresa pointer was diagnosed with ms in february of 2004. for years she struggled with pain and exhaustion. she tried just about everything, but found the drugs prescribed to her were ineffective or had awful side effects. but one day in 2005, she read in the newspaper about clinical
trials for a marijuana based medicine. have you ever tried cannabis? what were your thoughts on it? >> no, no. ever since i was a little girl, my mum had always said to me don't do drugs, don't do drugs. >> but nearly wheelchair bound, theresa was desperate. she tried it, a spray to the back of her throat several times a day, even once during our interview. her pain and muscle spasms are now well controlled. >> just the relief to be able to have a couple of sprays before i go to bed and feel comfortable enough to just go to sleep. >> the risk of side effects are pretty law. -- pretty low. >> dr. ely silbur prescribes it for his patients. >> some people feel slightly dizzy and lightheaded. you could call it slightly stoned. some people feel slightly tired with it. >> but according to gw studies, only 6% patients stopped taking the drug because of the side effects. more than 50% did get relief and
continued on the drug. all of that makes it a potentially powerful medicine for the 2.3 million ms sufferers worldwide. it's now available in 25 countries, but not the united states, where it's still under investigation. why so much more stringent in the united states? >> i think there is a greater level of rigor at all levels of regulatory inquiry in the u.s. >> like any drug in the united states, cannabis would have to go through rigorous testing, research and approval by the fda. but after that, things start to get tricky. marijuana also needs the approval of other government agencies like the national institutes of health and the drug enforcement administration. this is, of course, difficult, if not impossible. why? because in the united states, marijuana is illegal and classified by the government as a schedule one controlled substance. that means it's considered to be among the most addictive drugs and not recognized as having any medicinal benefit.
that's why what i'm about to tell you is so ironic. >> the irony is that the federal government has patented one of the important chemicals in the plant. >> the government of the united states has a patent on a substance for medicinal purposes at the same time they say it has no medicinal purposes? >> exactly. >> researcher dr. michael bostwick is talking about patent number 6630507, held by the u.s. department of health and human services for the exclusive use of cannabinoids for the use of certain treatments. >> i was stunned and it felt like a dog in the manger that the federal government is sitting on this wonderful thing, and not letting anybody else do anything with it. >> when we went to the government to ask about it, none of the agencies involved would comment. >> we're being handcuffed by the
government. preventing us from doing the right trials. >> in fact, a 2013 search through the u.s. national library of medicined revealed 2,000 papers on marijuana. but the majority of them explored the harm, only 6% investigated the benefits. many believe that's the result of a draconian system gone awry, resulting in marijuana becoming one of the country's most controlled substances. and many people believe that has to change. but it was one of the experts calling for that change that surprised me the most. dr. norah volkov. she is the director of the national institute on drug abuse, the very agency that many say has blocked a good deal of the cannabis research. >> if the researchers feel this is an impediment to them doing scientific work, this is something that should be addressed. >> on the front lines of that battle, the son of a political dynasty. coming up, how this anti-drug crusader is fighting to get
cannabis drugs to patients like vivian. making a fist something we do to show resolve. to defend ourselves. to declare victory. so cvs health provides expert support and vital medicines. make a fist for me. at our infusion centers or in patients homes. we help them fight the good fight. cvs health, because health is everything. i am a lot of things. i am his sunshine. i am his advocate. so i asked about adding once-daily namenda xr to his current treatment for moderate to severe alzheimer's. it works differently. when added to another alzheimer's treatment, it may improve overall function and cognition. and may slow the worsening of symptoms for a while. vo: namenda xr doesn't change how the disease progresses. it shouldn't be taken by anyone allergic to memantine,
or who's had a bad reaction to namenda xr or its ingredients. before starting treatment, tell their doctor if they have, or ever had, a seizure disorder, difficulty passing urine, liver, kidney or bladder problems, and about medications they're taking. certain medications, changes in diet, or medical conditions may affect the amount of namenda xr in the body and may increase side effects. the most common side effects are headache, diarrhea, and dizziness. he's always been my everything. now i am giving back. ask their doctor about adding once-daily namenda xr. but for people with copd, the world is filled with air. sometimes breathing air can be difficult. if you have copd, ask your doctor about once-daily anoro ellipta. it helps people with copd breathe better for a full 24hours. anoro ellipta is the first fda-approved product containing two long-acting bronchodilators in one inhaler. anoro is not for asthma.
anoro contains a type of medicine that increases risk of death in people with asthma. it is not known if this risk is increased in copd. anoro won't replace rescue inhalers for sudden copd symptoms and should not be used more than once a day. tell your doctor if you have a heart condition, or high blood pressure. tell your doctor if you have glaucoma, prostate or bladder problems, or problems passing urine as anoro may make these problems worse. call your doctor right away if you have worsened breathing, chest pain, swelling of your mouth or tongue, problems urinating or eye problems, including vision changes or eye pain while taking anoro. nothing can reverse copd. the world is filled with air, and anoro is helping people with copd breath air better. get your first prescription free at anoro.com.
♪ ♪ adele, can you put some shoes on? >> it's early november 2013 at the wilson home. just a few days earlier, vivian's parents were surprised by a call from one of the only two dispensaries currently open in the state of new jersey. they say they have a strain of cannabis low in psycho active thc and high in therapeutic cbd. after a year of fighting
governor chris christie, and then months searching for doctors to prescribe cannabis, >> she has seizures, correct? >> the wilsons are finally getting marijuana in their hometown. once they pick up the cannabis at the dispensary, they're confused. >> it's 0.13% thc and 0.13% cbd? >> why don't you go in and ask. >> this isn't like picking up a standard prescription. there are no standard doses or federal guidelines. >> that's the one you want. >> they leave uncertain, not knowing exactly what they're getting. and here's another problem, what they get at the dispensary are leaves that vivian can't use. >> how many grams are we going to use? >> it's up to her parents to make medicine out of those leaves. for that, they're used this glorified crock pot to activate the plant and turn it into an
oil. >> once we have oil, we don't know what the ratio is, because it's not going to be what this says, because it just went through this heating process. >> it's trial and error. something we heard from so many medical marijuana patients. >> i do a mixture of thc, cbn and cbd. >> frank had to experiment with many different strains of marijuana to find the right kind to treat his chronic pain and arthritis from an old football injury. >> i have extreme pain in my knee. and i want to get medicated faster. my body is exhausted, my knee is going to be sore, maybe swelling on the joint, maybe i'll sit down and smoke some flower. >> prescribed painkillers made him sick, so he was desperate to try something new. >> within 15, 20 seconds, the pain just went away, it was gone, absolutely exited the body. >> turns out the most common use for medical marijuana is pain. early studies suggests that
cannibis binds to receptors in the brain to reduce inflammation and can provide a buffer against pain. but according to d dr. margaret geddie, there is no one step standard cannabis treatment for pain. >> so patients are kind of let loose in the sense that they have to try things and find out which strain works. >> frank now works in the stanleys' lab, where he helps to make the medicines he takes morning, noon and night. a variety of different strains. he says his pain is gone and he functions well. it's a mix that works for him. >> is it risky? there are some risks if you don't know your baseline that -- what milligram for your edibles that you could ingest. if you ingest too much, you can pass out. >> some people i've heard have people that followed recipes and have had children taken to the emergency rooms psychotic from the marijuana. >> that's why he feels job number one is to make marijuana
safe, reliable and effective. one way to do that is through research, which is why since the summer of 2013 he's been trying to begin the first-ever united states research trial on the new cannibis-based epilepsy drug from gw. but the hurdles have been insurmountable. >> if you're looking at the potential medicinal benefits, it's very hard to get funding. >> after many months, he was able to secure funding and approval from his hospital, new york university. but getting the government to -- specifically the fda, the dea and the bureau of narcotic enforcement to sign off, was nearly impossible. one of their biggest issues was security. >> so as part of this, you had to have this safe put in? >> this is new and only for this project. >> a 1200 pound safe.
watched by multiple security cameras, all for a drug that can't even get you high. and even with that, he's still waiting for final federal approval. >> the failure of the federal government through its regulatory arms, dea, fda and the like, has led to a public health debacle. >> patrick kennedy, with his deep political connections and famous name, is pushing the feds to fast track cannabis research. >> they ought to get at it quickly. the fda and the federal government, they ought to just get it done. we just need a greater urgency to this issue overall. >> it's a bold statement for kennedy. a recovering addict who's been outspoken that making medical marijuana legal in any way is dangerous. that more children will be able to access it and more smokers will become addicted it to. now he thinks the only way to remove that risk is to have all medical marijuana products federally regulated, rigorously studied and strictly controlled.
>> i think making this truly a medicine as opposed to forcing people to go on the street and try to buy something that they can't determine whether it is what it says it is. >> but he understands why sick patients want marijuana now. remember his father, ted kennedy, died of brain cancer and his brother lost his leg to cancer. >> i wouldn't have begrudged any member of my family with cancer, and they've all had cancer, anything that would have mitigated the chemotherapy. >> it's why he's meeting with everyone, from the fda to the white house, to speed things up. but it takes time. time the wilsons don't have. they're finally going to try their new homemade cannabis oil. >> we weren't able to get it tested or anything, so we have no idea what it is, which is why we have to be really cautious. >> behind closed doors, brian tries it to make sure he doesn't
get high. he doesn't. so vivian is next. it doesn't work. nothing in new jersey seems to work for them. vivian's seizures won't stop. is moving the only option left for the wilsons? hey mike, it's lucy from lifelock. good news. we just learned your case is closed and your stolen retirement funds are finally being restored.
>> we figured there would be a way to make it work. >> it's crazy. just crazy that the program is such a failure. >> that's vivian's nurse screaming for help. vivian is helping a bad seizure. >> i know. did it hurt? >> she's gotten these welts. she's having afternoon seizures. something's not right. >> it would be one of vivian's last seizures in this home. soon after, a house once filled with life, is empty. the wilsons are leaving everything behind. >> bye, eyeless snowman. >> when you look at some of these situations, families uprooting their lives and moving to colorado, what goes through your mind?
not just as a doctor, but as a citizen? >> i think it's a strange point we have that these people can't get access for the most severe cases to something that might be very helpful for their child and might be potentially life saving for their child. >> something davinski is hoping to change. he's gotten the government green light to start research on a cannabis based epilepsy drug. it's too late for vivian. but not for hundreds of children in the trials. >> it's exciting to be at this point in medicine where we're going to hopefully get some answers about a drug that's been part of our specie's history for thousands of years. >> but those answers won't come immediately. in the meantime, the stanleys aren't slowing down. they finally succeeded in getting charlotte's web out of colorado and into the hands of patients in california. >> you got your medicine. >> yay! >> how about splitting families up. >> now the brothers have their sights set nationally. in states like oklahoma. >> don't make them pick up and
have to move to a state like colorado. >> in fact, 15 more states are considering legalizing medical marijuana. >> there are other people in this room who need the immediate gratification of that drug. >> the ever-growing support of main stream medicine doesn't hurt. in a recent poll of nearly 2,000 doctors, 76% said they're in favor of using medical marijuana for a needy patient. now six medical marijuana states have expanded their laws to allow card carrying patients to bring cannabis medicine into their home state. yet unfortunately for the wilsons, new jersey is not one of them. >> it will not happen on my watch, ever. i am done expanding the medical marijuana program. >> literally the same hour he said that, our friend's daughter was taken off a ventilator after a 26-hour seizure. >> 15 months old. >> and you're like, yeah, that
could be vivian, you know? >> tuesday, february 25th, denver, colorado. brian is setting up house, unpacking boxes, picking up a two-month supply of vivian's new cannabis medicine. >> $667.37 for the total. >> everything is in place when they arrive a few days later. after settling in, vivian's ready for her first dose. >> this is it, huh? >> yeah. >> it's been a long road. >> it really has. >> she's a little tired, but ready. >> the first of many doses, the beginning of a new life. >> i am so happy with this neighborhood, and i needed something to make this really positive. i needed to be somewhere that i was going to absolutely love. >> and create new memories.
yet there's always the constant reminder of everything they left behind. >> we're stuck here. vivian can't leave this state as things stand now. >> right. she can't cross any boarders. -- any borders. and the grandparents aren't going to see their grandchildren much, and it's really sad. >> in the midst of the sadness, a realization that the sacrifice might have meaning. >> was this a battle that was won? >> clearly we're here now. vivian does not have what she needs in new jersey, so in that respect we didn't win. but there's a conversation going on and people are talking about medical marijuana a lot more. >> how great! >> and for the wilsons, other patients and dedicated scientists, all who believe this plant might be able to change lives, that is a victory. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com
the following is a cnn special report. >> i don't think he's breathing at all there. >> we need somebody now. >> he started to foam at the mouth, convulsing uncontrollably. >> this is the only time we've reached out to a school system, to the university and said hey, there's this danger on the streets. >> deadly new drugs on america's streets. >> it was nothing like anything i've had before. the trees look like cauliflowers, like dancing around. >> designed to evade the law. >> once they alter that chemical, it is no longer a controlled substance. >> and to maximize profit. >> we process, you know, $40,000 to $50,000 a month in credit card payments.